3-4 Activities

3-4 Activities

These activities for Navigation were updated in late 2008 and early 2009, along with the Learning Results.

Ideas to try....

Career and Education Development

Navigation skills are part of education for modern day careers in the navy, the coast guard, and the merchant marine.  Students who are interested in this type of career may want to investigate educational requirements, locations, and post-college options. Compare how navigation skills were learned in past centuries vs. how they are learned today. 

Geography, History, and Englsih Language Arts

Compare maps from different eras in terms of their accuracy, visual appearance, and artistic qualities. Compare drawing a map with writing out directions. Which is easier to do? Make a map of the classroom or the playground, to help students get from one place to another. Alternatively, describe in words and numbers how to get from one place to another. Use landmarks to help describe the directions. Which form of communication is most helpful--visual or verbal? Is this true for everyone?

Use maps and charts in a report of a real or fictitious voyage.

Science and Technology

Use a globe, a bright light, and other balls to model the solar system. Alternatively, use students to act as different bodies in the solar system to show the changing relationships between these bodies and to show how knowing their motion can help navigation at sea. Note how eclipses occur. Learn about the constellations and the bright stars that help navigators, making drawings of the constellations.

The history of mankind’s learning about the earth and the heavens is critical to navigation. There are many opportunities to learn more about specific historical figures: scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, explorers, and cartographers. Did these figures have characteristics in common? There are also opportunities to research myths and legends that explain scientific phenomena and to learn about the effects of these prevailing cultural beliefs on societies (for example, the day and night cycle). Technological advances in navigation played a large part in settlement, trade, and cultural change over the last few centuries.


Students may learn more about using a specific navigational instrument and teach the class what he or she has learned, using a specific application. Study how measurement tools have changed over the years. Demonstrate the necessary calculations.